Brooklyn Goes Robot Crazy

It wasn’t basketball that had the crowd going wild in the gymnasium at Polytechnic Institute of NYU this past Saturday – it was robots, 33 of them, hand-built from LEGO components and sent to compete on tabletop courses.

Hundreds braved the cold to attend the Brooklyn finals of the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition, where student teams demonstrated their ability to research, engineer, build and program robots.


Three professors are in charge of NYU-Poly’s robotics program (AMPS/CBRI, or “Applying Mechatronics to Promote Science/ Central Brooklyn Robotics Initiative”): Prof. Vikram Kapila (Mechanical Engineering); Prof. Magued Iskander (Civil Engineering); and Dr. Noel N. Kriftcher, head of the Packard Center (and a member of the Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences).

“We are very proud to be able to offer the first LEGO Robotics Competition on our campus again and even prouder for the opportunity to work as mentors with local students,” said Dr. Kriftcher.

“We’ve introduce hundreds of young people to science and technology by having Ph.D students as fellows (i.e., engineers in residence) at these schools. It benefits the students, and the teachers get the opportunity to develop their skills in the area of robotics and also develop a broader repertoire of instructional skills. The fellows themselves benefit – one learns best by teaching. They provide lessons, work with teachers as well as coaching the FIRST LEGO League teams.

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